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  • Caylie Gnyra

Town Council-March 5

Vermilion’s Town Council meeting on March 5 was a short one, with two main discussions centering around new bylaws.

Director of Finance and Administration Brian Leibel proposed 2.2024 Borrowing Bylaw – 2024 Capital Budget, which would enable the Town of Vermilion to borrow up to $1,400,000 from the Province of Alberta or another authorized financial institution for a period not to exceed 25 years in order to complete the sanitary trunk main replacement. Council approved the bylaw’s first reading, noting in their discussion that municipalities have not been receiving sufficient funding from the province and that municipal taxes have been going up as a result. Council also noted that the current trunk line is 60–65 years old, and that a new trunk line is essential to the town’s growth and development, particularly in North Brennan.

Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Lucas then proposed Bylaw 3.2024 – Remote Attendance Bylaw in order for the Town to meet the Municipal Governance Act section 199. Council voted to accept the first reading of the bylaw. Notably, remote participation may not be used for in-camera meetings or other meetings where confidential or sensitive information is discussed. Council agreed to amend the bylaw to ensure clarity that the Town and its taxpayers would not be held responsible for the cost of additional accessories used in remote participation. Full details of both bylaws are available on the Town’s website under Minutes and Agendas.

There was no public commentary or correspondence to be discussed at the meeting.

Leibel presented accounts payable for the period of February 21 to March 5 totalling $544,476.51.

During the Council round table, councillors highlighted the openings of Nichols Towing and the J&J Pinoy grocery store, with Councillor Robert Snow celebrating how many new businesses have been popping up in the community. Councillor Kevin Martin spoke about his meeting with the Alberta Central East water line’s board and their drought assistance plans, while Councillor Robert Pulyk mentioned his upcoming call-in town hall with the Minister of Environment to get an update on the drought situation. Pulyk also spoke of the meeting he attended providing a review of the Alberta budget and how it affects municipalities, as well as his upcoming meetings with Alberta HUB and Refocusing Alberta Healthcare. Councillor Josh Rayment mentioned attending the Parks, Recreation, Culture, and Environment meeting as well as the Vermilion River Regional Waste Management meeting he attended alongside Councillor Paul Conlon. Councillor Kirby Whitlock recently returned from his 6-week trip to Yuma where he was grateful to spend time with his “extra parents.” Whitlock also encouraged Town Council and Administration to enter teams in the upcoming Race of Vermilion offered through the Good Life Institute on March 16 ( Councillor Robert Snow reported attending a Vermilion and District Housing Foundation meeting, with plans to attend a Watershed Alliance meeting coming up. Mayor Greg Throndson attested that he had experienced “the slowest two weeks I’ve ever had in two years,” but highlighted a call-in meeting with all the mayors in Alberta, as well as his invitation to judge bridge building at J. R. Robson High School next week. “I’m either going to be paid in cookies or muffins, I’m not sure which. I’ll take both,” he cracked. He closed his time by saying, “Don’t be shy to help your neighbours out shoveling their sidewalks and/or driveways.”

Just prior to adjourning the meeting, Council covered a letter from Minister of Municipal Affairs Rick McIver, emphasizing the $722 million in funding dedicated to municipalities through the Local Government Fiscal Framework, which replaces the Municipal Sustainability Initiative. Council also highlighted the 2024 Fire Service Training Program grant, which will provide $6,629 to carry out training as outlined in the conditional grant agreement. Finally, Council mentioned their letter to the Royal Canadian Legion in support of their application for funding to complete part two of the renovation at the Soldiers Plot area in the Vermilion Public Cemetery. The renovation will include landscaping, general fill, a concrete walkway, and memorial signage.

The meeting was adjourned shortly after 6:45 p.m.

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